A Love Letter to Planned Parenthood

Dear Planned Parenthood,

When I was in 10th grade and my friends and I were beginning to discover the power of the blowjob, we heard rumors that this hot senior, who I’ll call Mike, had chlamydia. One of my friends had gone down on him and was scared she had the clap in her throat. I quickly drew out of a chart of our high school’s web of hook ups and concluded that if she had the clap in her throat, I most certainly did too. We were panicked and uneducated and couldn’t go to our parents, so we went to Planned Parenthood. None of us has chlamydia, but everyone was really nice, taught us all about chlamydia and safe sex practices, gave us a fuck ton of condoms, and we left feeling a little more grown up. I don’t think it’s a reach to say that first visit and what I learned about safe sex (they taught me a lot more than my high school was) helped inform what would become a career largely based on writing about sex.

Over a decade later, I still go to Planned Parenthood, now in New York City, for all my reproductive health needs. They do my annual pap and HPV test (although now it’s recommended only once every three years). They do my breast cancer screening, they answer all my anxious questions. They test me for STIs and HIV about once every six months (most people don’t go that often – but I am mega-OCD when it comes to my health). They also provide me with affordable birth control (as a freelance writer I’m on a form of Medicaid so it’s free) and give me heaps of condoms for free too (that shit’s expensive).

To get (extremely) personal here, I’ve (knock on wood) never contracted an STI or experienced an unwanted pregnancy, despite having a rather active sex life for over a decade now. Many people I love have, to no fault of their own, it just happens sometimes. STIs are sneaky and pregnancy is what women’s bodies were designed to do, so sometimes we get pregnant. Maybe I’m so used to taking pills for other reasons (lol), one more at the same time everyday is no biggie for me. But the whole damn reason I have access to the birth control and thus have never needed an abortion is Planned Parenthood! Thank you, Planned Parenthood. Why don’t more people talk about this side of it?  During Friday’s debate, Trent Franks, R-Ariz showed Congress a graphic poster of an aborted fetuses in Congress (I’d like to see a graphic poster of a 17-year-old child who lives in low-income housing giving birth to a ten pound kid after getting knocked up by her mom’s boyfriend. Then I’d like to ask Congress about the funds we’ll need to take care of her and her child, and if they play the “work hard and get a job” card to bitch about welfare, let’s talk about income disparity for women – especially women of color – and how we’ve created an education system and low employment rates following a crash caused by, guess who, rich white men, that more or less sets children birthed to such parents as the aforementioned 17-year-old up for failure and a life of crime, oh and if there’s time, we can talk about how much prison costs the taxpayers. End rant). Oh one more rant – do we show graphic posters of all the dead civilians (dead babies too) before approving war missions and drone strikes? Anyone? Bueller?

The legislation approved Friday would end federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, during which some time investigators will snoop around and see what they can find out to be true from those edited videos, basically. As a freelance writer, ending federal payments will directly affect me and my ability to love and fuck the way I want and I am outraged. Yet, I recognize my privilege. I’m a cis white girl with supportive parents and a Dad who is a lawyer. If something happened and I needed an abortion, they’d make sure I was able to see someone safe. I am one of the lucky ones. The majority of the women and families who need Planned Parenthood don’t have parents with the funds to step in in such a scenario.These politicians are using overtly edited videos for political gain, and imposing some condescending moral high ground that is completely unsupported by science pretty much because they think it makes them look cool to their Republican constituents and twisted version of God. It’s evil.

Planned Parenthood, I thank you for keeping me healthy, safe, educated, and not pregnant for the whole time I’ve been having sex. I love you, and I stand by you.

Love,

Sophie Saint Thomas

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7 comments

  1. I wrote a beautiful reply then accidentally closed out of the window before posting. Of course.

    I am a huge advocate of Planned Parenthood, and every single aspect of what they do. I agree with everything they’ve done for you, and I believe in a woman’s right to abortion (just because a right exists, doesn’t mean one HAS to utilize it). Rowe v. Wade decided that a woman has the right to an abortion, and she has a right to chose that option. No one else has a right to chose it for her. And taking out the abortion aspect of it, and just using Planned Parenthood the way you’ve used it (as a less expensive gynecologist) is something that no one should be able to take away. To defund Planned Parenthood is to take away the rights of half of the population of America, especially the low-income section of that particular gender. I am of the opinion that if Planned Parenthood looses is funding, then it will be up to the people who defunded it to make sure that low-income women have access to health-care. Viagra (and others like it) will no longer be covered by insurance, and it will cost a LOT of money for one pill….enough to cover one low-income mother’s next gyno appointment, etc.

    I just don’t understand it. Women in this country are strong, and have voices – isn’t it time that we rally together and stop this once and for all? Leave off the abortion issue; what woman doesn’t want other women to have access to this sort of health-care? The women who are against planned parenthood go to the gyno, some of them utilize their reproductive rights in the forms of pills, patches, needles, whatever, and mostly all of them are against STDs (although some believe it’s somehow the woman’s fault, and not the man that GAVE them it). Why can’t we all just decided that every woman’s body is her own, and she has a right to get medical attention, information, and options in the way that best suits her, and leave it at that?

    This whole argument makes me sick in general. Personally, I would never utilize the abortion services, and I’ve always known that. I do what I can to avoid pregnancy because I do not want to get pregnant, but if there was a surprise package, I could not and would not use abortion as a solution. My personal beliefs do not permit me to. I’m not religious, I have no such thoughts of it being against a Creator or the Bible or anything like that, and I could care less if your religion states that you cannot have an abortion. None of that matters to me. What matters is that the option remain open for women who make that decision. Just because I can’t do it, doesn’t mean that the woman next to me can’t do it. It is her right by law (Rowe v Wade), and the religious aspect should play no part in that decision — because of a little thing called “separation of church and state”.

    This subject makes me a little heated LOL

  2. I had my daughter at 15. My pregnancy was not covered by my parents’ insurance. Planned Parenthood gave me tons of baby clothes along with diapers and necessities and a baby blanket that my 15 year old still has. They were there for me in my time of need. I hope they can make it through this and gain the ability to inform and help kids in the USA. They want to know why Sexually Transmitted Infections and teen pregnancies are so high?…No one is willing to hand out condoms to kids because they are afraid they are encouraging sex that is ALREADY HAPPENING!

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